Meditation for the Modern Yogi

in Eight Steps

by Lucy E. Johnson


Lucy E. Johnson, author of the award-winning book Yoga and Self-Enquiry, takes her readers step-by-step through the specific techniques for developing a successful meditation practice based on the ancient science of yoga.

To help you master the practice, eight guided meditations are provided, also accessible via YouTube recordings. Thought-provoking aspects of yoga philosophy, as well as practical tips on meditation, help practitioners gain mastery over our inner lives.


read Introduction below

MEDITATION FOR THE MODERN YOGI in Eight Steps by Lucy E. Johnson
Published by the author in collaboration with Fearless Literary
Print ISBN 978-8269357905  •  132 pages  •  $14.95


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Lucy E. Johnson discovered Iyengar Yoga in the late 90s and has been a practitioner ever since, becoming a certified teacher in 2016. Now retired, she occasionally shares her reflections on yoga philosophy with fellow practitioners while continuing her studies in Sanskrit and Indian Scriptures with the Chinmaya International Foundation in India. Her first book Yoga and Self- Enquiry won two independent-publishing awards. She lives with her family in Norway.


“Those who aspire to the state of yoga should seek the Self in inner solitude through meditation. With body and mind controlled they should constantly practice one-pointedness, free from expectation and attachment to material possessions.” ~ The Bhagavad Gīta

Dear reader,

In this book I will share with you the necessary tools to establish a daily practice of meditation — the yogic way. I will be presenting these tools in eight steps.

For each step, there is a guided meditation which you can access via a YouTube recording. You will find the link for the guided meditations as we go along. The guided meditations are there as an extra aid to help you master the practice so that you will eventually be able to do it on your own. I will also be highlighting some of the fundamental aspects of yoga philosophy that are most relevant to the practice of meditation. This will help you understand these aspects in a deeper and more experiential way, so it is not just a theory for you....

But first, I’ll tell you a little about my spiritual journey up to this point. This will explain how I’ve been guided to share what I have discovered through my own practice of meditation.

My Spiritual Journey

When I look back upon my life, three instances of feeling touched by grace come to mind.

The first was around the time that I discovered yoga in the late ‘90s. Wendy, an old university friend, had visited me for the weekend. She had recently been on a retreat at a Buddhist centre in which yoga sessions were offered. I can still picture her demonstrating various postures in my living room. It was fun to also try, and I quickly resolved to find myself a yoga class.

Not long after I began weekly yoga classes in central London, close to my work. The style was ‘Iyengar Yoga’ named after B.K.S. Iyengar (1918-2014), an Indian teacher of yoga generally credited with popularizing yoga in the Western world. It felt like the perfect method for me as I was stiff and soon discovered that this type of yoga made use of props (such as blocks, belts, and chairs) to help with the various postures.

The moment I felt touched by grace followed within a few weeks later. Whilst browsing in a bookstore during my lunch break, I came across a small section of yoga books. As I reached to take a book from the shelf, I felt from within what I would now refer to as ‘atmic power’ (the Sanskrit word ‘Ātman’ means ‘Self’). At that time, I had never heard of terms such as ‘Self’ or ‘Ātman’. I just assumed it to be a feeling of enthusiasm for my newfound interest in yoga. I bought the book that I had been drawn to, noticing later that day that it was published by the Sivananda Yoga Centre in Putney, South London. I had recently moved to Putney and this centre happened to be within walking distance from my home.

It was at the Sivananda centre that my lifelong interest in Indian Philosophy was born. Over the years that I lived in London I would attend many discourses there.

The second instance of grace felt more significant. My husband was planning a trip to India to attend several days of spiritual discourse in Rishikesh. After some deliberation I had decided to join him. On our first morning in Rishikesh, we happened by chance to walk past Swami Sivananda’s cottage (‘kutir’) on the bank of the river Ganges. Swami Sivananda Saraswati (1887-1963), the founder of The Divine Life Society, is widely accepted in India as having been a liberated sage.

As I walked into the area of Swami Sivananda’s kutir, I was filled with what I can only describe as a huge surge in the ‘voltage’ or current at the core of my being. Dreams that I’d had in my early days of starting Iyengar Yoga classes came flooding back to me. In one of them I was outdoors practising a seated forward bend. On waking from that particular dream I could vividly recall the physical sensations of my torso resting along my legs (I have still yet to experience this level of proficiency in forward bends!). I had been a bare-chested man in the dream. What struck me most upon waking was the incredible peace of mind I had had whilst holding the dream yoga posture.

Back then I knew very little about the concept of reincarnation. It was during this trip to Rishikesh that it began to dawn on me that the grace of Swami Sivananda had drawn me back, in this life, to yoga and Indian philosophy.

The third and final instance occurred in the summer following my trip to India. I was staying at my in-laws’ house on a fairly remote island off the West Coast of Norway. It is an incredibly peaceful place surrounded by majestic mountain peaks and fjords, and the house is sufficiently spacious to provide a private space for morning meditation. On this particular stay, I found myself slipping more easily into longer periods of deep silence during meditation. One evening after another quiet and contemplative day, just as I went to bed and closed my eyes I felt intoxicated with bliss.

I fell asleep quickly, slipping into a dream where I found myself sitting in front of one of the greatest saints known to India, Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950). He was sitting in silence with his eyes open. There were other people in the dimly lit room; I was situated at the front, quite close to him on his right-hand side. As he began to turn his head toward me, I mentally braced myself unable to block the fear that arose from within, as I instinctively knew what was about to come.

What followed, as his eyes locked onto mine, was a glimpse of Reality that I shall never forget. It remains such a vivid memory. I will try my best to convey with words what happened:

In that instant when Ramana shone his gaze upon me the very Self (my true Essence) that I had been turning towards in deep meditation during the day sucked ‘me’ into my heart center. I don’t really know how it would feel to enter a black hole but that is the best analogy that comes to mind. The intensity was just indescribable as I became an infinite — without any limit whatsoever — ocean of Pure Consciousness-Bliss. For a fraction of a moment I recognized that the entire universe was in me. But even that disappeared.

When recalling this experience after waking up, the best rational explanation I could think of was that I had full awareness during deep sleep. Sometime later that morning I was struck by the daily message in the Ramana Maharshi Facebook group that I was part of at the time. I cannot remember the exact quote but the gist of it was:

“There is no time and space in the Self. When you understand this, you can get the comfort of a personal visit.”

Although this ‘touch of grace’ occurred in the dream state, it gave me the unshakeable faith that my very Self is that Supreme Reality.

It was shortly after this experience that I took the plunge and retired permanently from working life. Retiring enabled me to dedicate my life wholeheartedly to a spiritual pursuit — a deeper exploration and practice of Yoga as well as the opportunity to take more formal courses in scriptural study of texts such as The Bhagavad Gīta and the Upanishads.

But this book is about you, not me. And the fact that you are interested in meditation and spirituality is proof that grace is already manifest in your life.

The Indian saint Sri Ramakrishna once said:

“The breeze of grace is always blowing on you. You have to open the sails and your boat will move forward.”

We open our sails by turning within. This is the art of meditation. Let us now begin this journey together...